RACE REPORT: GRANGE MOTOR CIRCUIT, APPLE VALLEY, CA

Clean Sweep For Zack Courts At Grange!!!  

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Photos: Kevin Hipp

 

Fellow Motorcyclist staffer Zack Courts filled in for an injured Ari Henning at the recent M1GP event at Grange Motor Circuit, riding the Werkstatt Racing Honda CBR250R to four wins on the ultra-tight, 14-turn kart track. Courts competed in Open GP and the CBR250 Cup classes, which were each run twice as part of M1GP’s double-header race weekend.

 

Zack ran away with the lead in the first Honda-only 250 Cup class, riding hard in an effort to put a gap on AMA racer Javelin Broderick, whose pace was unknown on race day. “The CBR250 turned out to be a great bike for the track.” Says Zack. “I think [Javelin’s] bike is a step or two behind Ari’s, so I lucked out by having the better machine. ” Courts won the race by a huge distance after putting down a string of 1:06 laps.

 

In the second 250 Cup race Zack hung back to dice with Javelin, putting on a show for the spectators and having a fair amount of fun in the process. “It was a blast having someone to ride with that’s there to have fun and you can trust on the track.”  Says Zack. The two swapped for the lead numerous times, never running more than a few bike lengths apart and often coming down the front straight elbow-to-elbow before trying to late-brake each other into Turn 1. “Jav was riding really well, and the sound of those two CBRs pulling the same revs on the gas was epic.” Recalls Courts. But when the white flag flew, Zack’s racing instinct took over and he picked up the pace, insuring that he won by a safe margin.

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Zack closes the gap on AMA racer Javelin Broderick in the second CBR250 Cup race with some seriously hard braking. Grange is tight enough that there’s not much room to pass in the infield. “The track was a lot of work on the bigger 250.” says Zack. “Some of the tighter corners are more like survival than skill!”

 

Zack closes the gap on AMA racer Javelin Broderick in the second CBR250 Cup race with some seriously hard braking. Grange is tight enough that there’s not much room to pass in the infield. “The track was a lot of work on the bigger 250.” says Zack. “Some of the tighter corners are more like survival than skill!”

Later races saw an unexpected threat in the form of two Zero electric sportbikes that joined the CBR250 ranks on the Open GP grid. The e-bikes fired off the starting line like cannonballs, and their superior acceleration saw them carrying significantly more speed at the end of the 950-foot front straight. “The Open GP race where the two e-bikes jumped out front was really tough.” Recalls Zack. “I had to strategize a lot, and six lap races with 1:06 lap times means you don’t have a lot of time to do it. I was proud of myself for being able to use the handling of the little CBR to get around the e-bikes and stay ahead until the end.” It wasn’t easy, though. Zack had to make some aggressive moves in the infield on the second lap in order to put both the e-bikes behind him, and while one machine repassed him on the front straight, Zack attacked again in the infield and pulled enough of a lead to be out of striking distance.

 

The second Open GP race was less eventful, with one of the Zeros registering a DNS and the other slowing down early on due to low battery voltage. Zack was appreciative of the e-bikes, and impressed with their acceleration. “I really hope the series takes off,” says Zack, “because I think racing the electric bikes will help people learn how to make them handle well, and with any luck the factories will be able to make bigger leaps forward to create better bikes in the future. Power isn’t a problem, that’s for sure.”

 

Although Henning didn’t race, he was in attendance, acting as Courts’ mechanic. Ari should be back on his feet soon, and hopes to race the Werkstatt CBR250R with M1GP again when they run at the Streets of Willow in July.

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